May 2014

By Glen Hansen

In Schmidt v. Bank of America (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 1489, the Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District held that a trial court erred in granting summary judgment against claims by a servient property owner that alleged that the dominant property owner went beyond the scope of the reserved private easement for ingress and egress when it graded the easement and installed subsurface infrastructure on the easement area for the benefit of the adjacent condominium project that was built on the dominant property.

Continue Reading Just Because The Easement Says “For Public Road Purposes” Does Not Mean It’s A Public Right-Of-Way

By William W. Abbott

Foothill Communities Coalition v. County of Orange (2014) 222 Cal.App.4th 1302. In the minds of most local planners, spot zoning is typically associated with downzoning of a smaller parcel in circumstances in which the surrounding property is similar in character, but which retains a more intensive zoning designation. From the perspective of the California’s Fourth Appellate District, a rezoning which creates the converse result (that is the donut hole being rezoned to a more intensive classification) can also trigger a claim of spot zoning. In the facts of Foothill Communities Coalition v. County of Orange, the trial court invalidated the rezoning. On appeal however, the appellate court found the rezoning to be a valid exercise of the police power and upheld the rezoning.

Continue Reading Up Zoning Creating Special Benefits Can Trigger Spot Zoning Claims

By Natalie Kuffel and Glen Hansen

In R&R Pipeline, Inc. v. Bond Safeguard Insurance Company (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 438, the Court of Appeal for the Second District held that a contractor who provided infrastructure work on a subdivision could timely file a $1.2 million lawsuit to enforce a subdivision improvement bond because the project was private and not public, even though the work was required by a subdivision agreement between the developer and a public entity.

Continue Reading Is It A Public Or Private Improvement Project? Court Reviews The Differences With Millions In Claims On The Line.